WATCH: Video shows former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shot during campaign speech in Nara

Shinzo Abe was shot on Friday in Nara City (image vie kantei/getty)
Shinzo Abe was shot on Friday in Nara City (image vie kantei/getty)

Shinzo Abe, the 67-year-old former Prime Minister of Japan, was shot at on 8 July while presenting a speech in Nara City, Kansai.

Footage of the event depicts Abe collapsing after making his speech. CNN reported that the former PM was shot twice.

Local Japanese reporters from NHK claimed that they heard a gunshot and saw that Abe was visibly bleeding. The video of the shooting can be seen below.

Trigger Warning: The following video may contain disturbing content. Viewer discretion is advised.

In an official statement, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno summed up the situation for reporters.

Matsuno said:

"Former prime minister Abe was shot at around 11:30 local time (02:30 GMT) in Nara. One man, believed to be the shooter, has been taken into custody. The condition of former prime minister Abe is currently unknown."

He added:

"Whatever the reason, such a barbaric act can never be tolerated, and we strongly condemn it."

People News reported that a man in his 40s was arrested after the shooting.

Eyewitness accounts of the shooting of Shinzo Abe

According to BBC, eyewitnesses at the scene described seeing a man with a large gun behind Shinzo Abe. They claimed that he fired at least two shots and then made no attempt to escape afterward, instead waiting for the authorities to arrest him.

As per NHK reporters, despite the gunshot wounds, Abe seemed to be able to talk to first responders.

The NHK broadcast team said:

"(Abe) was conscious and responsive"

NHK reporters noted the peculiar weapon that was recovered from the suspect. It appeared to be an improvised double-barrel shotgun, a strange sight in Japan. According to Gun Policy, the nation has the second-lowest gun violence rate in the world, after Singapore.

BBC reported that the alleged gunman is suspected to be a former member of Japan's Maritime Self-Defence Force, a naval defense branch of the Japan Self Defense Forces.

Further details on Shinzo Abe

Shinzo Abe served as Prime Minister of Japan for one year in 2006, then once more for an eight-year tenure from 2012 to 2020, when he stepped down for health reasons. These two periods in office mark him as the longest-serving Prime Minister in Japanese history.

In an official statement, the US Ambassador to Japan, Rahm Emanuel, spoke highly of the former Prime Minister.

Emanuel said:

"(Abe) outstanding leader of Japan and unwavering ally of the US."

During his time in office, Abe was known for trying to amend the constitution imposed upon Japan after WW2, which prevented the formation of a Japanese military with advanced offensive capabilities. In 2014, he was noted for allocating millions of dollars for "marriage programs" to deal with Japan's declining fertility rate.

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Edited by Srijan Sen
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